Thursday, January 19, 2012

Maya Stein's YES

In my book, Improv Wisdom, the first maxim is to say YES.  It has implications.  I have rarely read a tribute to yes which says it better than this remarkable poem by Maya Stein.  Please visit her blog.

after a violent rain,
bloody battle on the roof
mud-inked, wind-broken
roots chunked and hazardous
the velocity of the river a cause
for posted signs and nervous dogs
to blisters on shoulders from too much
sun, mouth woolly, limbs limp
as old dandelions yes
to skinned knees and black-bruised
egos, shyness and tongue-tripping yes
yes yes to the slow crawl of indecision
to remorse to hideous mistake
to saccharine and over-salted
to no vacancy and lost chances
yes to the ugly failures in front
of the hometown crowd
to oversized and under-whelmed
to cheats and lies and cowards
yes to the rips in your new silk dress
to torn up and torn down
yes to the conversation
you didn’t want to have
to irrational, irreconcilable, irreversible words
yes to cracked throats and busted ankles and spent light bulbs
and burned batteries and whatever dies after
it has lived
to a broken promise or three or nine hundred
yes to the time it takes to tell the truth
yes to desert and dry spells and lunacy and lost hope
yes to the middle of a blind-white October
yes yes yes
to sharp and scrape and cauterize
to discard and done for
yes to ducking under yes to darkness
to breaking in two
or more pieces
than you can count
yes to the disappointing lunch
to the disappointing summer
to the disappointing marriage
yes to the seesaw fear of stillness and escape
yes to the bad haircut in eighth grade that ruined your chances
yes to the fumbling in the back seat that led
to your bad reputation
yes to beyond repair
to what’s done is done
to a change of heart mid-stream
yes to bad art
to old age
to out of shape and shapeless
yes to where have you been
and why didn’t you call
and how many times do I have to tell you
yes all of it yes
not a moment too soon or too late
this yes, this yes
this ripe and mad and fleshy terror of a thing
this yes will save us
tie our restless shoelaces and stroke
our fevered cheeks and pay off our
inglorious debts
this yes, this yes
this aching starved animal
will bear down until we open ourselves
to its wet mouth and slip our skin
under its teeth and feel its dark heart beating
ruthless against our lungs and let our heaviness fall
like a string of dominoes until we sing
our fragile, damaged beauty
into the waiting arms of the world.

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